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Musicbrainz Challenges Grid As Standard Music Identifier
By Eric de Fontenay (Founder & Publisher)
(more articles from this author)
2003-02-21
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The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) announced the launch of a new digital music identification system called the Global Release Identifier or GRid. The identification system is an electronic version of the Universal Product Code (UPC) currently used to identify CDs, but with a significantly increased numbering capacity. As such, it has the advantage of building on a already proven system used throughout the market.

In addition, instead of adding to the present confusion due to hodge-podge of systems being used for electronically distributed works, GRid is meant as a unifying standard that would be interoperable with existing systems such as UPC and the International Standard Recording Code (ISRC). For example, any electronic release containing sound or music video recordings will continue to have ISRC codes assigned to it before a GRid number can be allocated.

Good news for copyright holders trying to get a grip on the use of their works online, right? Yes, IF you can afford the annual £150.00 fee charged to users of the system. But an open-source alternative to the IFPI's proprietary system, MusicBrainz, has stepped up to create a "music information commons." Backed by Relatable and AgentArts, MusicBrainz would enable commercial and non-profit music organizations to access a public music meta-database without the "highly restrictive and expensive licenses" imposed by commercial offerings.

MusicBrainz though has an important Achille's Heel: a lack of industry. Relying on information provided by its community of 2,000 contributors and in develop since 1998, the system has thus far gathered information on over 650,000 music tracks. A good start, but far from the critical mass for the service to be of use to many organizations.

Related News from Mi2N:
» New Electronic Identifier Helps Develop Legitimate Online Music Market
» Frequently Asked Question On The Global Release Identifier
» MusicBrainz Launches Open Source Music Recognition Service


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